It can be difficult for a DM to create an engaging story that provides plenty of encounters and interesting characters for their players.
A creepy old mansion can be a great change of pace if you’re bored of your usual dungeons or caves.
It offers many unique opportunities to make your adventure memorable. These DnD mansion maps will help you create a more engaging adventure for your characters if you’re a DM.
Checklist for the Mansion Map Backstory
A backstory is a key element in any DM’s adventure. These are some elements that you might consider including in your backstory.
Who built it?
Where is it located?
Who designed this house and why?
What were their goals for the rooms, and what are their dark secrets or mysterious pasts?
Perhaps there are hidden rooms or tunnels. How about the garden?
What about the garden?
Is it big and has it deteriorated or is it still well-kept despite being abandoned for many years?
What is the current condition of the mansion?
Is it new or old?
Is the wooden floor brittle or does it show traces of dust?
Who lived there?
A lot of the backstory will be determined by the past tenants of this mansion. It is possible to think about facts such as, “What kind of family lived here?”
What about their children or pets? Why did they build this mansion for themselves?
What happened to them?
Where is the mansion now?
Their corpses may still be in the mansion or they could be living there. You must have a reason for the owner of the mansion to behave strangely or leave.
What purpose has the mansion served?
Homelessness and poverty were very common during the Middle Ages. Perhaps this is what you see in your world. An empty mansion could attract bandits or people. They could have used it to shelter or hideout. Is it still there?
Who put the traps there?
You don’t want to set traps all over your house if you live with your family. Are the traps put there by the original owner or where they set up by bandits?
It was to keep someone out in …?
The townsfolk: Another thing to consider is what people who live near or around the mansion think. There are bound to be rumors about an abandoned giant mansion.
You should also ask the question, “How much influence did this house have on its surroundings?”
Are children missing, are cattle being grazed at night, or is the town trying to lure in unsuspecting adventurers?
There is just as much potential to create backstories for mansions as for dungeons. They are, in my opinion, the most overlooked setting in Dungeons and Dragons.
They provide a welcome change of atmosphere and setting to the underground or woods quests.
Ideas for Rooms in an Amazing DnD Mansion
It doesn’t necessarily have to be just a few rooms on the main level, a basement, or an attic.
Many places in the house could be used for interesting things or encounters.
These are just a few ideas for rooms that you might have, and what NPCs or monsters might lurk there.
- Let’s get started in the garden- The DM’s almost always forget about this little spot. This is a bit crazy, as every mansion has had a shack where tools could be stored. You can find manure, chemicals, and poisons here. You can also place a trap door here.
- A glasshouse– Is your adventure, like many others, taking place in a medieval European setting. You can add some jungle to your world, while still keeping it real. This glasshouse isn’t just for peaceful, interesting plants. It is possible that the owner of the house left a dangerous tree sapling in the glasshouse, which has grown to be large and deadly over time.
- Trophy room– You enter a room to see animal heads and carcasses on a wall. Perhaps there are monster heads or humans there… In a world that is so obsessed with killing monsters, it wouldn’t seem strange to have a mansion in which a few elf heads or goblin heads are mounted on a wall.
- Library– No mansion would be complete without a library. Here you will find more than just dusty, moldy books. You might find a desk with pens and a half-written note or a diary under the desk. You might hear someone whisper behind the bookshelves or in one of the books.
- Servers’ room- If the mansion has multiple floors, there may be a servant’s room for the housekeeper or butler. This is a good place to look for clues about the past inhabitants. Please avoid the “The butler did it” trope. It is too obvious and predictable.
- A bathroom is a place where you can take a bath. There could be something growing or hiding in this murky water. Perhaps your players could take a refreshing bath or discover something new.
- A religious room– Many people forget that wealthy people used separate rooms or small temples in their homes to worship God in the past. You can either have a small altar to pray to, perhaps some paintings, or a cult with an offering altar.
- Sparring Room– In a world of monsters and war, we live. It would not be unusual to have a room for nobles and their sons to learn swordsmanship. You could have dummies or small monsters fighting in these rooms.
- Trap Room– You can add a trap room to your mansion if you want to challenge your players. You can also create your own escape room and replicate it in your home. You can make this even more fun by dressing up your party and having a lot of props around the house to make your room look more Dungeons and Dragons-style.
You can be a bit sadistic, like me, and have no secret passages or rooms. Place bookshelves and other suspicious objects over the mansion to have your player perform futile perception checks.
You can surprise them with unexpected encounters with monsters once they are used to not finding any.
Mansion Map Monster Encounters Ideas
The ecosystem of a mansion is vastly different from that found in a forest, dungeon, or forest.
There are no giants or Minotaurs, no hordes, and very few chances of you encountering a dragon. What creepy creatures and monsters can you expect to find in a mansion, then?
Animated armor– This is your chance for your players to fight animated full knight armors. Animated armor can be a great way for players to get caught off guard.
Gargoyles– These are not likely to be found in the woods, or dungeons. This is going to be a tough fight if your players don’t bring a large hammer.
These statues can be used to remind players that they are on dangerous ground and are protected by the forces of evil.
Attic Whisperer is my favorite monster to use when building mansions. Most players don’t know much about it, so getting one will be a surprise. The attic whisperer, an undead is made from bones and toys leftover from a child.
However, the skull isn’t human. It is made from whatever it can find. It is most often a fox skull.
To lure children into its hiding place, it sings creepy nursery rhymes. The attic whisperer can also steal the voice of another person and imitate it perfectly.
You don’t have to move furniture to cause injury. It could be a good idea to have some furniture that can move.
Chairs could be set up to move in a specific pattern, or you could make an interesting puzzle from it.
Mongrelfolk is a humanoid animal that has been subject to experiments. These creatures are perfect to be incorporated into a house that once belonged to a mad wizard who did Frankenstein-like research. They can be picked up by the party to use as their experiments.
Shadows – These are a very underrated group. You rarely see them. For parties just starting their adventures, they can be very dangerous. They have a low CR but a terrible ability.
They can drain strength. These monsters can be used to surprise low AC parties. They could end up in serious trouble if the adventurers don’t have a Clergy and have dropped their Strength stat in general.
A few last words on Mansions Maps in DnD
A mansion has a different setting, story, and encounters than your average forest or dungeon.
You shouldn’t be too ambitious when you first try them. Mansions can have more rooms and items than a normal dungeon, and they are often part of larger wholes like a city, village, or other large cities.
Like any other place in DnD, players and dungeon masters must be quick to find loopholes.
A barbarian won’t be able to slash through an underground dungeon wall anytime soon.
This primordial brute force is less likely to penetrate the inner walls of crumbling mansions. To stop clever players, make sure you have a plan A as a DM.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where can I get more inspiration for mansion mapping?
You will never run out of blueprints for old mansions and castles. Pinterest has my favorite collection.
This includes the Balmoral Castle first floor plan, which is where Queen Elizabeth II often visits.
The best part about historical maps is that they will make your mansions feel much more real.
How do I plan an adventure in my mansion?
Because of the variety of rooms, you can have inside a mansion I recommend going backward.
This means that you should think about the events you would like to see and the monsters and items you need to encounter.
Then, you can plan your mansion. You will feel more adventurous and not just give the players a tour of your house.
Are there any tricks for DMs who are using mansions?
You must first think about how you will use the environment. A house is more cluttered and full of trinkets than a forest or dungeon.
There are many everyday items that you can use in your story.
Second, I’d try to avoid predictable things. Your players will begin looking for secret rooms and levers as soon as they enter a mansion.
Find something else. Try to surprise your players if you have to use levers. A lever can be activated to release a magical impulse that causes armor suits to attack players.
Third, use unique monsters! You might find the most unique encounters in a mansion. If this is your first time using a house map, I recommend that you make sure they have a spot where they can encounter an attic whisperer.
There are some cool traps that you can use. I love to place a Rug of Smothering where the player shouldn’t be.
They would be a bad idea in the main entrance hall since the lord probably didn’t want his guests to die. Probably.